The Bureau had some real characters. One such character was Iggy. Iggy was a Slovak, and he loved to regale us with his stories. One story involved the “lipstick” factory that he had worked in during the war. Right, Iggy, a lipstick factory. You need lots of lipstick during war time. In those days, we all had coffee clubs, and Iggy’s is where we had ours. We’d always take our coffee breaks at Iggy’s. We’d take turns, rotating through the members to buy the ground coffee. One bad seed kept buying the cheapest coffee on the planet. Ugh! I could never wait for that to get used all used up. Iggy was a technician, and he often traveled with us into the field. On one such trip, we were preparing for departure, and someone asked if we would be leaving soon. Iggy responded, in his heavy Slovak accent, “Heck no, buddy! We leave at noon!” Iggy was pretty good with “Heck no, buddy!” I miss Iggy.

My boss at the Bureau was Ray Stateham. As Ray would say, “State like Colorado and ham like the sandwich”. Well, it has been decades since I’ve seen Ray, and I still know how to spell his name. Ray was also a graduate of New Mexico Tech, and he singled out a Tech graduate to fill the slot I was given. When Ray hired a new employee, he would have them and their spouse over for dinner. Dinner was good. When it was over, we were moving over to Ray’s bar. Ray and his wife Millie led the way, doing a little ballroom dance move as they crossed the floor. It was pretty cute. Ray was a good man and a good boss.

I just remembered the time when a co-worker and I were drilling holes in a concrete block (to simulate the coal mine roof—there are the bolt boys again!) We were using a large rotary hammer drill that slightly resembled an assault rifle. We had a Bureau camera with us, because we were documenting the project. We decided that we needed to take a few Rambo-looking pictures of each other, just for laughs. I don’t think I have those pictures, but it was fun.

I had my name on a couple of publications with the Bureau. I was a co-author on one called “Evaluation of Bearing Plates Installed on Full-Column Resin-Grouted Bolts”, an I was the primary author of one called “Relationship Between Annulus Thickness and the Integrity of Resin-Grouted Roof Bolts”. They were Reports of Investigations, which is a specific category of publications that the Bureau put out. It was a challenge to publish at the Bureau, because you had to satisfy several editors, and sometimes those editors had opposing opinions. We joked that there was a Department of Hyphens that inserted hyphens randomly through a document. You can actually purchase that second document on Amazon. No, really: https://www.amazon.com/Relationships-between-thickness-integrity-resin-grouted/dp/B003HKQWMA/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Relationship+Between+Annulus+Thickness+and+the+Integrity+of+Resin-Grouted+Roof+Bolts&qid=1563918555&s=gateway&sr=8-1

(Sorry that the hyperlink doesn’t survive.)

The Bureau was abolished in 1996 under the Clinton administration. I had left nearly 10 years prior to that, to join my friend, Bill, at my next adventure. I’d met Bill at the Bureau, and we remain strong friends to this day.


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Comments (2)

  1. Steve

    August 13, 2019 at 4:47 am

    Hitting 40 years in the business this year- getting older!!! The best memories of my working career were definitely at the Bureau Bryan – what a cast of characters and we did have a lot of fun. I often wonder what or where I would be if he Bureau hadn’t closed. Obviously, a lot of good people came out of there (yes, government workers can be good….some very good) I enjoy your blog – even topics I know nothing about!! Keep them going and thanks for making me think about Iggy and Ray today – he was a good boss and I remember I roasted his ass big time when he retired – he went to Arizona and Milly and he both passed pretty quickly which was a shame.

    • admin

      August 13, 2019 at 11:25 am

      Many thanks, Steve, my friend. And yes, we had many good people at the Bureau. Some more colorful than others 🙂
      I’m truly appreciative of my time at the Bureau. I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today without the Bureau experience.
      And Steve, thanks for making the experience all that much better!

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